My Rookie Season

Posted by Jared Moine (for those of you who are new, Jared is a junior high pastor in the D.C. area who is in his first year of full time junior high ministry. Thus, the name of his column.

 We’re Making Changes

The high school pastor and I have successfully talked the senior pastor into a crazy idea we both had and to both or our surprises, after some thought, he said yes. Up until this weekend our high school ministry has always had their “worship service” entry level program on Wednesday nights and since I have been here we have been having our middle school ministry service on Sunday nights. Both nights work and allow us to use the new, main, and only building. Our adults had been using the main building on Saturday nights and three times on Sunday morning. Since being here, I’ve noticed that only one of our services is full on Sundays and our Saturday night crowd is a good crowd but not massively growing and mostly full of people who come out of convenience that weekend. Meanwhile, both the high school pastor and I feel our student ministries need a change to make them healthy.  We have a strong desire to have our students plugged in to small groups, and with the main high school service happening on Wednesday nights, finding another night of the week available, proves difficult. That, combined with the fact that most students don’t have much to do on Saturday evenings, we decided that Saturday would be our ideal time to have student services. However, this would require a significant shake up within the adult world of our church.  We are so blessed to have a senior pastor who not only believes in us, but also believes in the importance of student ministries.  We must have said the right things, because our senior pastor agreed to allow us to make this change that affects the whole church. This is huge and exciting and mostly scary. This is the first time for me to have a crazy idea, and to then get a chance to put it in place. If it’s great, then I’m part of a genius decision. On the flip side, if it sucks, it was my idea. That’s a scary sink or swim scenario that I, for the first time in ministry, find myself in. It’s terrifying, yet I think this is what faith is suppose to be all about, carrying out plans that you think are right and good, yet you don’t really know if it’s going to work.

Maybe you’re someone in the same shoes as me and you’re just getting started and everything is a new faith building exercise, or maybe you have been in your current job for a few years now and have really settled in and are doing some great ministry in a place where you know the culture and know what works for your students. If you have settled in, chances are you know what you are doing and you know that you can pull everything off. This is a good place to be, and to be honest I pray a lot to get to that place soon but there is something amazing about living in the moment and trusting God to make something grow. My prayer would be for those of you who have all the experience in your craft of youth ministry, that you would not be afraid to fail and try something new. Maybe it isn’t a complete shake up of your church, but just a small change could push your faith into an exciting new adventure.  However, maybe God does have some big plans for your church and it’s you who needs to have the faith to dream and share an idea with a trusted ministry partner. Our current new adventure started with the idea of “what would be the best time for us to do youth services?”  As we brainstormed the Saturday night plans kept getting better and better until finally we made a positives and negatives list and the positives in making a switch were so great that we even convinced our senior pastor.

I don’t know what God may have for you, but I do know that He always wants to grow our faith and the older and wiser we get the bigger steps of faith we need to be willing to take. Our next step starts this Saturday, when does yours?

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jgriffin@churchleaders.com'
Josh Griffin is high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co-counder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and host of the Youth Ministry Garage Podcast. He's authored more than 20 youth ministry resources and is the author of "99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders" with Doug Fields. Josh is a father of 4 who speaks a little, podcasts a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot. You can find him at DownloadYouthMinistry.com!